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SmackDown In A Nutshell: Going Home For Backlash

It is the final show, SmackDown or otherwise, before Backlash [1]…which can mean only one thing. It’s SmackDown [2], in a Nutshell, and we are going home for Backlash!

The latest main roster PPV has a tough act to follow, thanks to a well-received NXT TakeOver: In Your House [3] this past Sunday. In terms of matches for Sunday, one of the big ones is a handicap match for Braun Strowman against both The Miz and John Morrison.

Of course, if for some reason the hype for going home for Backlash isn’t enough for you…there is more. As in, this week’s SmackDown gives us the finale of the Intercontinental Championship Tournament-AJ Styles versus Daniel Bryan. [4]

It should be a stocked show, so let’s delay no further. Its time we start going home for Backlash!

Let’s crack open this Nutshell!

Best Match of the night:

Some nights, this choice is not easy.

This was not one of those nights.

Hands down, without any hesitation, AJ Styles and Daniel Bryan’s Intercontinental Championship clash was the best of the evening.

I’d even go so far as to say…this one is probably worth filing away in the folder for “match of the year” contenders.

Worst match of the night:

New Day versus Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura. Was a very short bout, but also what’s the point in having your champions lose a non-title match?

Losses like that, especially if they happen a lot, don’t help things.

Star of the Night

AJ Styles, for becoming the new Intercontinental Champion.

Honorable mention to Daniel Bryan in his losing effort. That match was excellent.

Spot of the Night:

I have a couple…

And, gotta love the creative use of the plexiglass…

Jobber of the Night:

Honestly, might seem odd to say it, but it sure felt kind of like the New Day had a job to do tonight. I mean, tag champs, losing in a short match, even if not for the titles?

Not a great use of tag titles.

Holy Sh** Moment of the Night:

I shall offer up two.

First…holy [email protected], WWE let the Intercontinental Championship match run for a big chunk of the show. I (and many others) can be annoyed that they cut to commercial too often, but hey, bills have to be paid.

Second, not a good one…but what was someone thinking when they green lit the opening segment?

Like, I hope that Jeff Hardy was involved in it to some extent…but that doesn’t make it any better. More on that later though.

Botch of the night:

Not a wrestling botch. A judgement botch.

Plenty of folks have remarked about how certain segments have not been wise, with respect to social distancing and safety in light of the pandemic.

So where does tossing faux urine at someone rank? I mean, sure, we know it wasn’t actually his piss (we hope), but that’s what we are supposed to believe…and it’s just not needed.

If Jeff really approved of it, I can only wonder the motivation. I guess the money must be really good, or really needed.

LOL Moment of the night:

Watching Otis makes me laugh. He’s entertaining, so that’s a plus.

Still weird as all heck to think he holds a Money In The Bank briefcase though.

Noteworthy Moment:

The big one from this week’s show is we have a new Intercontinental Champion.

Honestly, I’d have been fine with either man winning, so I really can’t complain with Styles as champion.

One thought to all this? With Styles still taking jabs at the Undertaker…I don’t believe The Phenom has ever held the Intercontinental Championship?

Would WWE even pitch that title match? I doubt it, but who knows…

Overall lowlights:

The big one for me was that contract signing and urine test.

Look, I am all for both WWE and Jeff Hardy acknowledging his demons. It creates a teachable moment for some watching, and for other fans who have similar demons, there’s possibly hope.

However, using those demons in this fashion? I have to say, it feels kind of dirty and wrong.

I hope that Hardy signed off on these segments for the right reasons (as in, it wasn’t because he needed a lot of money), but watching them made me feel icky.

And that was before the “pee” toss happened.

Overall highlights:

That championship finale was worthwhile.

I will say it, too. Either Daniel Bryan or AJ Styles just seem more suited for the belt. I think to have Sami Zayn as champion, especially his first run, you need fans to get it over.

After the final bell:

Not a horrible go-home show. Surprised we only got three matches out of the two hours, but that happens when you give one match most of an hour.

And guess what? We had a Tucky sighting!

That said, it was a very excellent match. If each show routinely gave us even one match on that level per week, fans may complain slightly less than normal.